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New Post Bugler Appointed on Pearl Harbor Day by VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 12, 2011

Glenn Ledbetter, 10 Dec. 2011

On 7 December, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day (1941), Martin Spani, Commander, VFW Post 1040 of Lynnwood, appointed me the new post bugler. It’s not national news, but quietly, it’s a big deal to me. I’m a Vietnam veteran who served on three ships in the Pacific Fleet during 1963-1967: USS Los Angeles (CA-135), a heavy cruiser homeported in Long Beach, CA; USS Walton (DE-361), a destroyer escort homeported in San Francisco; and USS Koiner (DER-331), a radar picket escort vessel homeported in Agana, Guam.

World War II was formative for me, even though I was a small boy not yet in school. And more important to me than Pearl Harbor Day are V-E Day (8 May 1945) and V-J Day (14 August 1945), when I was five years old…I remember the relief and exhilaration of those days.

When I was at Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island in late 1962, I played in the drum and bugle corps. After I graduated from OCS, my first orders as an Ensign were to report for duty aboard the Los Angeles, then in Japan. Enroute from San Francisco, I stayed over in Hawaii and went to Waikiki. Now, whenever I go on vacation to Honolulu, I always visit the “Punchbowl,” the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. I love to listen to the birds in the trees as I walk in the sunlight among the graves, read the markers, survey the wide, green burial field, and thank God and those of that great generation—my mother’s and father’s generation. They stand very tall in world history. At the Punchbowl, the soft, peaceful truth stares and sings right back at you: freedom is not free.

My ship bombarded the coast once, but I never shot to kill in Vietnam, and neither I nor my ship was ever fired upon. Our naval duty was to patrol the coast of South Vietnam to prevent and stop the movement of supplies from North Vietnam, China, or wherever which might support the Viet Cong. We patroled in the combat zone, but it really was a land war. With a crew, I boarded junks in coastal waters, searching for contraband. Anything could have happened.

I’m a lucky man. Not so for many others in American history. Have you heard “American Anthem,” by composer Gene Scheer, as sung by Nora Jones on the sound track of the Ken Burns film, The War? That tells you why it’s a big deal to be a VFW post bugler in a little town far off in the northwest corner of America. Please listen to it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdjnAFqapg4:

“Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings that I received. Let me know in my heart, when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.”

10 Responses to “New Post Bugler Appointed on Pearl Harbor Day by VFW Post 1040, Lynnwood”

  1. Nancy said

    I’m proud of you, Glenn. Yes, being Post Bugler is a big deal. Thank you for serving our country.

  2. DeeDee said

    Very proud of you, Glenn. We saw the story about the wreath-laying ceremony at Veterans Memorial Cemetery on the TV news more than once, but only heard your music. We were disappointed at not seeing you. That is quite an honor.

  3. Martin Spani said

    When the Post Honor Guard participates in a Veterans Funeral, the playing of “Taps” signifies their final salute. It is so much more fitting to have a Bugler playing Taps, rather than having a recording of it. The families really appreciate it, and Glenn does a beautiful job of it. We are proud to have him serve with us at VFW Post 1040 in Lynnwood.

    • glennled said

      Yes, a live sounding of “Taps” means a lot, and I’m proud to help honor that veteran who’s being laid to rest. Thanks for your kind words.

  4. Bob Kelly said

    You have every right to be proud of your new assignment: post bugler. Toot your horn a bit. Congratulations!

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